The pound took off after retail sales beat expectations

LONDON — The pound has jumped on Thursday morning after the UK’s latest retail sales data beat expectations by a significant margin.

At 9.30 a.m. GMT (5.30 a.m. ET) the ONS revealed that on a month-to-month basis, sales grew by 1.4% in February, while on an annual basis, sales grew by 3.7%. Both numbers were significantly worse than had been expected by economists polled in the run up to the data.

Prior to the release, economists had forecast month-on-month sales growth of 0.4%, with the yearly figure expected at 2.6%.

This was enough to send the pound significantly higher. Prior to the release it had traded at around 1.2477 against the dollar, but climbed as high as $US1.2527 in the minutes after the release. It has since moderated those gains a little, and as of 9.50 a.m. GMT (5.50 a.m. GMT) is at $US1.2508, a gain of 0.18% on the day. 

Here is the chart:

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